Saving Summertime Celebrations from Litter with the Clean Beach Coalition

One of the best ways people choose to spend their holiday weekends is on the beach — especially in sunny San Diego. With Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day coming up, families and friends will flock to the coast to celebrate their long weekends. In response to the influx of locals and tourists, ILACSD and the San Diego Clean Beach Coalition (SDCBC) will place 200 temporary trash and recycling bins along some of the city’s busiest beaches to reduce the amount of beach and marine litter.

A Clean Beach Coalition recycling bins set out for the Fourth of July last summer!

Over the past decade, SDCBC has kept 3.5 million pounds of trash off the beach and out of the ocean. This past year, over 61,000 pounds of debris were collected during the summer holiday weekends. With the support of Think Blue San Diego, PB Shore ClubFreePB, and more, SDCBC aims to educate beachgoers about the benefits of swapping reusable alternatives for single-use products.

How can you make the most out of your holiday weekends while staying sustainable? SDCBC recommends that visitors bring hard plastic coolers, refillable water bottles, and food storage containers to reduce the amount of disposables items brought to the beach. Avoid bringing plastic straws and utensils! And make sure all recyclables are clean, dry, and empty. Spend less time worrying about your waste by visiting our zero waste database, WasteFreeSD.org, for everything you need to know about reusable options!

Summer can stay sustainable by simply packing reusable options when preparing to head to the beach!

In fact, your only worry while basking in the sun at the beach should be when to reapply sunscreen. That is why SDCBC’s goal is to ensure that the safety of the community and the ecosystem is not compromised by the impact of litter. With these easily accessible CBC bins, visitors are able to responsibly throw away and recycle their waste while still enjoying their vacations. Even at the most crowded beaches, people will still be able to enjoy the sun, sand, and the ocean in San Diego!

Not planning to hit the beach for the holidays? No worries! You can still party with a purpose while you celebrate this summer! A picture is all it takes to support ILACSD as the local Keep America Beautiful affiliate. With Absolut Vodka’s new Absolut America campaign, for every photo submitted through the site, $1 will be donated to Keep America Beautiful or another selected charity. After submitting your photo, you can share the decked out picture on social media to show how easy it is to support ILACSD and Keep America Beautiful all summer while you #PartyWithAPurpose with #AbsolutAmerica.

Support Keep America Beautiful and its affiliates by submitting a photo of how you party with a purpose to Absolut America!

With the Clean Beach Coalition and Absolut America, it is simple to #DoBeautifulThings. Just by recognizing the impact that waste has on water ecosystems, San Diegans are better prepared to act wisely when it comes to waste, especially during the summer holidays. For more information about the Clean Beach Coalition, make sure to visit CleanBeachCoalition.org.

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It’s Almost Bike to Work Day: Are You Ready to Ride?

Bike to Work Day is less than a week away! Are you ready to ride? Celebrated regionally in San Diego this year on Thursday, May 17, 2018, Bike to Work Day is a nationally recognized event that encourages everyone to GO by BIKE and supports biking as an everyday, environmentally friendly commute choice. However, if you’re not a regular rider, it’s important to think about a few things before you jump on two wheels. Here are a few things to review and prep to have a successful Bike to Work Day!

Before the Big Day

What You Need:

Well, first and foremost, you need a bike. According to iCommuteSD, “Participating in Bike to Work Day means using pedal power. Beach cruisers, mountain bikes, road bikes, elliptical bikes, electric bikes, and bikeshare bikes are all great ways to GO by BIKE.” You’ll want to make sure the type of bike you have is suitable for your ride (maybe avoid a beach cruiser if you’ll hit a lot of hills on your route). You’ll want to make sure your bike is in good condition before you go. Check the brakes, tires, and chain to make sure they are properly maintained. Make sure your bike fits you comfortably. Check your seat height and handlebars.

If it’s been a little while since you’ve been on your bike, chances are it needs a little maintenance.

If you don’t have a bike of your own, you might want to make sure you have a plan for utilizing a bikeshare bike on a day they will likely be very busy! Luckily, a few bikeshare programs will be running a Bike to Work Day special! Discover Bike, LimeBike, Mobike, and Ofo will all offer free bike rides for up to one hour on Thursday, May 17 to the first 100 people from 6 – 9 AM. Just use the following promo codes: Discover Bike (33844), LimeBike (LIME2WORK), Mobike (sandiegobtw), or Ofo (SDBTWD2018).

Break out your bike lock and helmet!

Outside of a bike, you’ll want to make sure you have a helmet! Safety is key on a bike. If you take a spill, you’ll want to make sure you have a helmet on and any other protective gear you prefer. California law requires everyone younger than 18 to wear a helmet.  On top of a helmet, you’ll want to make sure you have a way to lock your bike up (unless you use a bikeshare bike). You can protect your bike with a lock (make sure you lock up your bike properly if you have any quick release tires) or utilize one of many bike parking or bike locker options.

Does your bike have a basket or spot to store a few things? If not, make sure you have a backpack or something to carry any items you might need to take to and from the office. If you have a long ride ahead of you, consider leaving a change of clothes and shoes in your office a day before. Make it easier on yourself and carry less by having anything you need to freshen up after your ride already at the office.

Depending on when you ride, you might need to consider lights for your bike as well. Being seen is vitally important! If the sun will be down for any portion of your ride, come prepared with lights. For longer trips, you might consider a patch kit and tire pump, but luckily, there will be plenty of pit stops on Bike to Work Day. Don’t forget your manners! Know all the hand signals for riding and always keep bike etiquette in mind!

Read up on the rules of the road before you bike if you are unfamiliar!

Plan Your Route:

Know where you want to go! It’s important to be safe when you share the road with motorists. Be prepared by knowing the best route to your office for when on two wheels! The best route to work in your car may not work so well on your bike. Use the iCommuteSD interactive Bike Map to help figure out the best way to GO by BIKE.

Get Registered:

Register for Bike to Work Day to get all of the information on pit stop locations and be a part of the thousands of commuters throughout the San Diego region participating in Bike to Work Day on Thursday, May 17. When you register for Bike to Work Day, you can pick up a free t-shirt at one of 100 pit stops throughout San Diego County from 6 to 9 AM (participants must show proof of registration to claim their free t-shirt). 

While You Ride

People riding bikes have the same rights and responsibilities as people driving cars. You can use a rack or backpack to keep your hands free. Hand signals should always be used to indicate your turns. Avoid using headphones or a cell phone. Be aware of traffic laws just like you would in a car! Use bike lanes when available, but know your rights on the road when sharing with other vehicles!

Stay safe and feel free to take a break while you ride!

 

Need a Break? Hit a Pit Stop

A total of 100 Bike to Work Day pit stops are planned across San Diego County, which will be open from 6 to 9 AM on Thursday, May 17 for anyone who registers. Pit stops offer fun breaks for bike riders to rest and pick up a free t-shirt, snacks, and encouragement. Some stops may even be able to assist with minor maintenance if you run into an issue. For a list of the Bike to Work 2018 pit stop locations and to see what is offered at pit stops along your route, check out the pit stop map.

Go Beyond Bike to Work Day

GO by BIKE All Year Long

The fun doesn’t stop after Bike to Work Day! San Diego has over 1,570 miles of bikeways in the San Diego region, you can get almost anywhere by riding a bike. You can participate in the City of San Diego’s Transit Tuesdays every week on your bike. iCommute is always a helpful resource to get started with riding tips, information about taking your bike on transitbike safety tips, and more.

We’re excited about your biking adventure and would love to see how it goes! Share your Bike to Work Day story with us by tagging I Love A Clean San Diego in your Bike to Work Day photos on social! PEDAL ON!

 

Be a Wave of Change at Kids’ Ocean Day

This May, I Love A Clean San Diego will bring 1,000 elementary school students, teachers, and volunteers to the beach to become a living piece of artwork at South Mission Beach to celebrate the annual Kids’ Ocean Day. Through a partnership with the California Coastal Commission, ILACSD will host San Diego County’s 20th Annual Kids’ Ocean Day! Kids’ Ocean Day kicks off before we even reach the beach with in-school assemblies to educate the students on the importance of our ocean, how it is being harmed due to human actions, and how we each play a role in protecting the health of our oceans. Then, on May 24th, these students will unite in a beach cleanup, followed by the formation of an image only visible from the sky. Check out the video below to get a glimpse of what to expect at Kids’ Ocean Day.

This year, the statewide theme is “Waves of Change,” evoking the powerful force we can be when united in our actions. Forming the aerial art message through the collective efforts of each individual sitting in the sand is a perfect metaphor for how our combined daily habits like refusing single-use plastics have incredible power in shaping the health of our environment. We are grateful to have so many young participants engaging in this cause and hope this event will propel their momentum in acting as wise environmental stewards.

Revealing I Love A Clean San Diego’s 2018 Kids’ Ocean Day “WAVES OF CHANGE” Aerial Art Design:

2018 Kids’ Ocean Day Aerial Art Design

If you would like to be a part of this event, we’re looking for adult volunteers (18 years of age and older) to lead students during the cleanup and the aerial art. If you’re interested, you can find more details on the Kids’ Ocean Day event page or register here! As a thank you, all volunteers will receive a photo of the completed aerial art image as a keepsake! We hope you’ll come together with us this year to be a wave of change for our environment!

 

The Low Down on Recycling Lithium Ion Batteries

Big news out of San Diego recently hit the recycling world. Zheng Chen, an assistant professor and nano-engineer from UCSD has developed a new method to recycle lithium-ion batteries. More specifically, according to a report by the San Diego Union Tribune, “He has developed a way to recycle used cathodes from spent lithium-ion batteries and restore them to the point that they work as good as new.” Considering those cathodes contain cobalt, a rare earth metal with a finite supply, this type of recycling has a momentous impact on the future of the tech world, most notably electric vehicles.

Electric vehicles use lithium-ion batteries that use rare earth metals like cobalt that have a finite supply.

So what does this mean for you? Well, maybe you saw an article headline and figured you can start tossing your lithium-ion batteries into your blue bin (false!). Or maybe you’re confused because you thought you already recycled all of your batteries. While the energy in the battery itself may not be reusable (at a large scale just yet), the materials themselves are 100% recyclable. With lithium-ion batteries powering many cell phones, laptops, power tools, and other electronics, it is likely we all have a few of these floating around our home. However, according to Chen, less than 3% of lithium-ion batteries around the world are recycled. For that reason, it’s important for us all to have accurate information on the proper way to handle these batteries at the end of their lifespan. We enlisted our friends over at Universal Waste Disposal Company to help us give you the low down on recycling lithium-ion batteries.

Lithium-ion batteries are rechargeable.

Lithium-ion batteries are rechargeable, but even rechargeable batteries have a lifespan. Once a lithium-ion battery is completely spent or degraded, it should be properly stored until it is able to be recycled. While you cannot simply recycle these in your blue bin, according to California Law (AB1125)  most retailers that sell rechargeable batteries are required to accept and recycle these consumer batteries. If you prefer a drop off option, you can check with local retailers to find one that accepts lithium-ion batteries. For pick up recycling services, businesses like UWDC specialize in universal waste recycling.

Until you are able to recycle your lithium-ion batteries, it is extremely important to store them properly. You’ve probably heard stories of cell phones exploding or catching fire. This is related to the battery within the phone. When lithium-ion batteries “catch fire” or “explode” they are experiencing thermal runaway. Thermal runaway is essentially a chemical reaction inside the battery producing heat that causes additional chemical reactions that result in increasing heat until there is nothing left to react. So be very cautious if your device begins smoking, sizzling or popping. Stay alert! Lithium-ion battery packs typically contain several cells. If your device does catch fire, even though one cell may be extinguished, the residual heat may cause thermal runaway in the adjacent cells.

The number of lithium-ion batteries that are recycled is very low since they are housed inside of many devices. The batteries commonly remain in our homes when the old device gets tucked away in a drawer or storage space.

 

Thermal runaway can be the result of design flaws (inadequate venting, poor chemistry, inadequate safety features), user damage (dropping, crushing, puncturing), improper packaging or storage, or improper charging (wrong charger, cheap chargers, overcharging). To prevent thermal runaway, proper care and storage are key. While the battery is still in use, keep them out of the heat and freezing temperatures, use the charger that came with the lithium-ion powered device, keep them dry, and avoid overcharging them. When your batteries are at the end of their life, make sure to store them at room temperature. Tape over the terminals so that they do not make contact with each other. 

The future of the environment is our responsibility and in this case, it’s the law. Batteries of all types must be recycled. Please be sure to locate an authorized battery recycler in your area to properly recycle your used batteries.

The Right Way to Recycle: Hard Drives and their Confidential Contents

As many of us at ILACSD know, one of the biggest barriers to getting folks to recycle is a lack of education on what is recyclable and how easy it can be! With seemingly constant changes to the items that can or cannot go into a blue bin, residents are often left feeling a little confused. Today, let’s take a moment to talk about the right way to deal with an electronic waste item that might cause some confusion: hard drives!

Inside every computer is a hard drive containing important, often sensitive information.

As many individuals and businesses understand, hard drives house loads of confidential and sensitive information. While it is very important to recycle or donate our e-waste items like computers, it can be frightening to think of our important, private information ending up in the wrong hands. Luckily, there is an option to help you responsibly recycle your e-waste items and securely destroy your data all at once: hard drive shredding!

Our friends over at Universal Waste Disposal Company offer this data destruction service through their Black Belt Data Destruction program. Black Belt Data Destruction is a mail-in hard drive shredding service developed specifically for small businesses, large corporations, government entities, AND everyday consumers. They offer various pricing options for this recycling service dependent on your personal needs and even offer bulk discounts.

Hard drive shredding destroys your confidential information and allows the scrap metal to be recycled!

 

How It Works:

When you purchase a Black Belt Data Destruction Kit, your old hard drive can be mailed-in using the provided tamper-proof sealed envelope. Once discretely packaged hard drives arrive, they are destroyed using state-of-the-art shredding technology to cut hard drives into tiny pieces recognized only as scrap metal and circuit board.

To ensure your sensitive data is properly destroyed, each kit comes standard with Certificate of Destruction and an encrypted video recording detailing the process from start to finish. With the Premium HDD Kit, you can even join a private live feed at the time of your choosing to watch as it takes place. The entire process lasts 2-3 minutes.

A Safe and Sustainable Solution

Whether you’re an individual or you run the IT department at a business, it is natural to want a sense of security when it comes to our confidential information. Hard drive shredding services like Black Belt Data Destruction can offer that peace of mind. On top of that, by utilizing this service, scrap metal is able to be recovered and recycled to help cut down on the demand for virgin materials. With the high demand and production of electronics, we are constantly seeing innovative ways to reuse, reduce, and recycle our e-waste. With hard drive shredding, we can responsibly recycle e-waste with confidence that our privacy is being protected!

San Diego Schools Step Up Their Recycling

At I Love A Clean San Diego, we work to lead and inspire our community to actively conserve and enhance the environment so that our children can enjoy this beautiful region for future generations to come. That’s why we believe in engaging with local schools to instill in them environmental values and habits at an early age.

Did you know that the average elementary school student drinks 133 servings of milk or juice per year? For the average elementary school, that means students consume approximately 75,000 carton beverages per year – that means more than 6 billion cartons are consumed in schools every year!

With carton recycling now available in over 60% of the country, including San Diego, we want to spread the word that you can recycle your cartons and help everyone improve their recycling habits.

Congratulations to Teirrasanta and Cherokee Point Elementary schools for leading by example. Take a look at the great work they’ve already done:

Tierrasanta Elementary won the San Diego Unified School District’s Most-Improved Recycling Award for 2016-17 by boosting their recycling diversion from 10% to 25% (by weight) over the course of just one school year. Through increased classroom recycling efforts as well as lunchtime recycling of cartons, lunch trays, and other recyclables, Tierrasanta students were able to reduce trash service, dramatically improve recycling rates, and save the school money.

Tierrasanta students use a helpful recycling station set up to stay mindful of what goes where when lunchtime ends!

Diverting 95% of all lunchtime waste is an extraordinary feat, and that’s exactly what Cherokee Point Elementary of San Diego Unified School District accomplished last school year. Students and staff joined together to ensure liquids, cartons, lunch trays, and food scraps were kept out of the trash and out of our landfills. The school’s Green Team students encouraged other students to properly sort their waste and take on litter pickup to keep campus clean.

Cherokee Point Elementary’s Green Team helped students sort their garbage leading to a 95% diversion of lunchtime waste!

School recycling programs not only encourage children to learn about the importance of recycling, but they also enable communities to recover large quantities of valuable materials, like beverage cartons. To start or enhance carton recycling efforts at your or your child’s school in San Diego, visit cartonopportunities.org. Our partner, Carton Council, has created materials specifically to help parents, teachers, and administrators get started.

Moriah bridges love for craft beer & the environment

Mo brewing beerToday’s blog comes from our Community Program Coordinator, Moriah as she shares her love for San Diego craft beer and our environment!

I am known as the resident beer nerd at I Love a Clean San Diego.  After working at a local brewery for about a year and brewing at home, it’s safe to say I know a thing or two about beer.  One thing I didn’t know, however, was how connected my love of beer was to my love for the environment.  In a city like San Diego, it’s not surprising that our local breweries value our environment as much as they value their craft.

Ways SD breweries minimize waste

Water conservation is a big issue for everyone in California, and that includes craft breweries.  The industry average in California ranges from 3.5 to 6 gallons of water for every gallon of beer produced.  Breweries in San Diego are leading the way in reducing the amount of water needed for their production.  Local breweries are becoming increasingly water-wise.  According to the California Craft Brewers Association, Ballast Point has reduced its water use by more than 24 percent, and Stone Brewing Company recycles more than 62 percent of its water daily.

One of the biggest ways that local breweries reduce waste is by using their spent grain in creative ways.  Spent grain is the grain left over after the brewing process.  Instead of throwing this used grain in the landfill, most of San Diego’s breweries donate it to local farms, where it can be used as livestock feed.  Stone Brewing Company even uses it as a mulching tool in their garden.  Some of their spent grain goes towards locally made soaps and dog treats as well!

Hop farm
Hop farm picture is Jordan Brownwood tending hops at Nopalito Farm & Hopyard. Photo credit:  slowfoodurbansandiego.org

San Diego is known for its hop-heavy beers, but did you know that farms right here in San Diego County grow one of beer’s most important ingredients? Nopalito Farms is a local, family-run organic hopyard and orchard in North County San Diego.  Since water conservation is always an issue in Southern California, Nopalito Farms has adopted sustainable farming practices like drip irrigation and mulching, and they work to maximize the rain that they get in Valley Center.

Imbibe with the earth in mind!

  • Bring a growler with you next time you pick up beer. Instead of cans or glass bottles that will end up in your blue bin, get a reusable growler and take it to the closest brewery.  Get fresh, draft beer straight from the source! Be sure to check with the brewery first to see if they have any specific growler policies.
  • Reuse old beer or wine bottles to make decorations for your house. At our recent Sustainable Living Workshop that focuses on a zero waste home, our educators taught attendees how to reuse their old bottles and turn them into fashionable home decorations.

    Zero Waste Home - Jan 2016 (29)
    One example of a  repurposed wine bottle from our Zero Waste Home Workshop.

Volunteer at Cupid’s Cleanup!

If all of this beer talk has you thirsty, you can join us and Benchmark Brewing Company on Saturday, February 13th from 10am-12pm for a cleanup of the San Diego River! Why not switch up the typical dinner and a movie Valentine’s Day date and help us clean up the San Diego River instead. Then, if this blog has inspired you to try some local San Diego suds, you can join us afterward for a Valentine’s Day-themed mixer hosted by Benchmark Brewing Company! Families, sweethearts, kids, and singles are all welcome.

Register here! Help us spread the word by joining the Facebook event and sharing the cleanup with your friends and family. 

cupids instagram